Yesterday morning was bright and sunny and I had fun photographing Turkey Vultures at a corral, a hillside Canada Goose and a Red-tailed Hawk flying over with nesting materials in northern Utah.
Turkey Vultures roosting on the rails of an old corral seems iconic to the American West and I couldn’t pass up photographing the two vultures in the sweet light of dawn. No need to pass them up when pixels are cheap, right?
The textures of the old rails of the corral just look “right” with these vultures and the morning light brought out all the details of the vulture’s plumage and the bark of the wood used to make the corral.
The two vultures were far enough apart that I couldn’t get them both in the same frame with my long lens so I photographed them individually. I saw lots of Turkey Vultures on the wing yesterday and many of them were rocking back and forth while soaring on the thermals. It is nice to have Nature’s clean up crew back again.
Normally I don’t save many images of birds that show their exposed nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, but I found the bluish, purplish color of the membrane interesting because it nearly matches the exposed, wrinkled skin on the top of the vulture’s head. I’d never noticed that before yesterday morning.
Canada Geese are common throughout most of North America, they are so common that many people ignore them as best they can and some photographers won’t bother to stop to photograph them which I find a little odd because they are birds after all but what isn’t common in other parts to the country is to see and be able to photograph Canada Geese on high cliff faces, rocky promontories and steep hillsides that are found in the Great Basin area. Add a mix of spring grasses, lichens and the yellows of wildflowers and the common becomes uncommon.
And what bird photographer could resist raising their lens to a Red-tailed Hawk flying over with nesting materials? Not this one. Not yesterday, today or any day that I have the chance. The composition isn’t ideal, I would have liked more room on the right side of the frame so that the end of the branch in the hawk’s beak showed but there are times that images like this work and I think this one does.
Life is good. I love being a bird photographer.